Conference held on spreading work of the Prime Minister on protecting and promoting the rights of communities
Pristine, 17 January 2010
Today in the Government Building of the Republic of Kosovo was held the ceremonial conference Office of the Prime Ministers work on protecting and promoting the rights of communities.
The Office for Community Affairs within the Office of the Prime Minister, in cooperation with Embassy of Switzerland in Kosovo, have organised a ceremonial conference to present the achievements on issues of communities during 2009. Through this conference, the Office of the Prime Minister thanked the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, for continuing support given to the Government of Kosovo, in particular the Office of Community Affairs.
The conference was attended by the Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Ramë Manaj, the Ambassador of Switzerland, Lukas Beglinger, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr. Nenad Raić, the Director of the office of Community Affairs (OCA), Mr. Srdjan Sentić, the Director of the Office for Good Governance, Mr. Habit Hajredini, the Director of European Centre for Minority Issues, Mr. Adrian Zeqiri, the Peacebuilding Advisor of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Mr. Armin Rieser, as well as representatives from embassies, line ministries, municipalities, Consultative Council for Communities, members of civil society and representatives from international organizations.
Deputy Prime Minister Manaj assessed that Kosovo Government is fully committed to protecting the rights of communities through its law, institutions and strategies.
Statutes such as Law on Protection of Communities Rights, comprehensive strategies handling community issues, highlight the commitment of this government for the integration of community rights said Deputy Manaj.
He also said that knowing the basic interests and needs of communities, Prime Minister Thaqi, in 2008 created the Office of Community Affairs, to bring coherence to governments approach towards communities. The Office for Community Affairs acts as coordinator of government programming and an enforcer of community rights within government delivery said Deputy Manaj.
The Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr. Lukas Beglinger, on his speech recalled the Kosovo Government commitment for the implementation of the Comprehensive Proposal for Status Settlement.
The Government of Switzerland through various means, inter alia the European Centre for Minority Issues, has continuously supported the drafting of relevant legislation and contributed to the creation of the OCA.
Switzerland stays committed to continue its support in this field, based on its own tradition and experience as a country whose great linguistic, cultural and religious diversity left no other choice than to develop a political culture of dialogue, cooperation and compromise, emphasized Ambassador Beglinger.
The Director of the OCA, Srdjan Sentić, after thanking the Government of Switzerland, presented the OCAs achievements during 2009, and laid out goals for 2010.
In order to asses the implementation of legislation and policies and their impact to communities, Office of Community Affairs conducts annual policy studies. The Office for Community Affairs has dedicated its first policy study to the representation of communities in the civil service and publicly owned enterprises. In 2010, the study will be dedicated to the issue of the use of languages, said Mr. Sentić.
In 2009, the Office for Community Affairs has supported more than 35 projects ranging from housing and infrastructure construction, to access to education and promotion of community cultures, with main focus on minority communities of the Republic of Kosovo.
Priorities projects of the OCA for 2010 will be published in the official website and will be distributed to a wide audience. Soon, OCA will launch its own official website which will include information on OCA, but also for all communities in Kosovo.
In 2010, Office will work with communities to ensure implementation of policies, in particular the implementation of the Strategy for the Integration of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities.